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Dental anxiety and behavioural problems: what is their influence on the treatment plan?

Type:  Articles

Pubblication date:  /1/2004

Authors:  C. Goumans*, J.S.J. Veerkamp*, I.H.A. Aartman**

Language:  English

Institution:  Departments of: *Cariology Endodontology Pedodontology **Orthodontics and Social Dentistry, Section Social Dentistry and Dental Health Education, ACTA, The Netherlands

Publication:  European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry

Publisher:  Ariesdue Srl

Keywords:  Children, Dental anxiety, Behavioural problems, Sedation, Nitrous oxide

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Title:  Dental anxiety and behavioural problems: what is their influence on the treatment plan?

Abstract:  Aim This was to investigate the influence of emotional and behavioural problems on the choice of treatment type. In addition, the actual contents of the treatment of dentally fearful children was studied in an attempt to develop dental treatment protocols for children with such problems. Methods The parents of 265 children (144 girls, mean age 88.4 months, SD±34.2 months), referred to a centre for special dental care, were asked to complete the Child Behaviour Check List (CBCL) before their first appointment. The CBCL was used to assess behavioural problems. All selected children were dentally anxious (score ?35 on the Children’s Fear Survey Schedule Dental Subscale, CFSS-DS). After treatment, the children’s records were analysed on treatment type and contents. Results The CBCL score was related to the type of treatment. Children treated with the aid of nitrous oxide sedation scored significantly higher on the CBCL than children treated with behavioural management or under intravenous anaesthesia (IVA). In the IVA group more surfaces were treated than in the other groups. The CBCL score was not related to the treatment contents (number of surfaces filled, amount of radiographs, sealants, stainless steel crowns or pulpotomies), the time spent on the child’s treatment or the number of sessions. Conclusion Dentally anxious children with behavioural problems as assessed by the CBCL have dental treatment (contents and length) comparable with that of dentally anxious children without those problems. However, anxious children with behavioural problems are more often treated with nitrous oxide sedation. Therefore, there seems to be an urgent need for access to nitrous oxide sedation for dentists working in special dentistry.

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